Letter from Revd. Lizzie Gregory December 2014

Posted on by Tania Birtwistle

Deep into the throws of winter, advent and Christmas is one of those times we begin to ‘batten down the hatches’, as it were. With the long hours of darkness it gets to a point that once home of an evening, that is where we wish to stay. Warm. Secure. Listening to the rain on the window, hearing the wind go whistling by or looking out and seeing the hard shimmering frost that has settled the night before.

For many of course, this provides a somewhat welcome opportunity to light fires, to spend time as a family listening to the radio or watching television, playing games or wrapping presents. Yet of course we know that for most this is an ideal. It does not form the reality of many people’s lives.

This time of year is hard for people in so many ways. Grief, loneliness, sadness or even isolation with the long hours of darkness do nothing but empahsise the burdens they carry. Returning them to an empty house, or a cold house, with nothing but difficult memories. In all honesty, each and every one of us will know someone for whom Christmas time will be a challenge in such a way and will try to keep them close to our hearts.

We are however less likely to know those for whom the winter time brings a more real, practical challenge. Those who in the midst of the wet and the cold don’t actually have a home to go to. Those who, when we are inside sheltered and secure listening to the winter weather outside, are huddled into a church porch or traipsing from hostel to hostel trying to find a bed for the night. These people too, we must keep close to our hearts.

There are things we can of course do to help. We can keep an eye on our lonely neighbours, showing them kindness and support. We can give extra support to homeless charities, donating items or volunteering. But even if we can’t for whatever reason do that, we can all spare them a thought, and at this time of year in particular spare them a prayer. The Church of England publishes special prayers for specific situations and at this time of year, they have released a prayer for those who are homeless. Of your charity and goodness I ask you to add this prayer to your daily prayers throughout the winter and through Christmas time.

God of compassion,

your love for humanity was revealed in Jesus,

whose earthly life began in the poverty of a stable

and ended in the pain and isolation of the cross:

we hold before you those who are homeless and cold

especially in this bitter weather.

Draw near and comfort them in spirit

and bless those who work to provide them

with shelter, food and friendship.

We ask this in Jesus’ name.



It is only a small thing, but it is something that we are all able to do.

We are about to celebrate the coming of our saviour to earth, the life that was the light of all people (Jn1.4). Lets do all that we possibly can to ensure those in darkness – be it of mind, or of circumstance – experience even just a glimpse to the love that is coming to earth.

Over these coming weeks, my prayer is that each one of you will truly be drawn into the brilliance of that love and that you will in turn share that love, that light and that warmth in every way you can.

With prayers and blessings that you may know love this Christmastime.